Now there are eight stages of Eskom misery

Likelihood of Stage 8 load shedding ‘low’.
Check your schedules … stage 8 load shedding could mean power cuts of more than 12 hours on a single day. Image: Shutterstock

Struggling power utility Eskom has extended its load shedding regime from four stages that allow up to 4 000 megawatts (MW) of demand to be shed, or cut, to eight stages providing for up to 8 000 MW to be shed.

Stage 8 would represent more than 26% of the electricity demand of 30 009 MW forecast for this week.

The new load shedding regime came to light on Sunday when Eskom announced stage 1 load shedding countrywide at around noon and consumers consulted their load shedding schedules. The load shedding did not progress beyond stage 1 and was cancelled early on Sunday night.

Read: Eskom warns of load shedding risk

On Monday Eskom again warned that the power system will remain constrained for the rest of the week.

Although Eskom said on Monday that it and most metros have extended the load shedding schedules for their distribution areas to cater for all eight stages, the City of Tshwane seems to be the only metro to have incorporated all eight stages in its published load shedding schedules.

In terms of the Tshwane schedules, stage eight load shedding would leave a specific consumer without power for six or seven out of the 12 load shedding slots per day. Each slot is two-and-a-half hours long, with consecutive slots overlapping by half an hour.

That means stage 8 could bring more than 12-hour power cuts per day to any group of consumers.

Eskom explained to Moneyweb that this is a necessary precaution.

Controlled intervention

“Load shedding is a controlled intervention to avoid a national blackout. Rotational load shedding ensures that: (i) the system security is not compromised when demand is manually reduced, (ii) supply to critical loads such as hospitals can be managed, and (iii) customers are informed on when they can expect to be interrupted.”

According to Eskom, the Disaster Management Act requires it to develop contingency plans for identified major incidents. “A Severe Supply Constraint is one of these, for which Eskom has plans in place.”

It says that after 2015, Eskom and the municipalities identified the need to extend the number of stages of load shedding “and the national code was subsequently updated after significant engagement with stakeholders in 2016/17. This has been published as NRS048-9 Edition 2”.

Energy regulator Nersa must still approve NRS048-9 (Edition 2) as a regulatory requirement, Eskom said.

“At a Grid Code Advisory Committee in early 2018 Nersa supported Eskom’s engagement with municipalities to implement the additional stages as part of its disaster contingency planning in terms of the Act”, Eskom said.

Each stage provides for a reduction in load of approximately 5%, which equates to roughly 1 000 MW at peak periods. Stage 8 equates to a deficit of approximately 8 000 MW, Eskom said.

Eskom has in the past week warned that load shedding is a real possibility in the next few months as low coal stockpiles could leave its coal-fired power stations without enough coal to burn should production at the open-pit mines in Mpumalanga be impacted by rain.

Read: Eskom’s coal stockpiles deteriorate further

Asked about the probability of stage 8 load shedding against this background, the utility said the likelihood of reaching this stage is low. “As a prudent System Operator, Eskom ensures that its contingency planning addresses several high impact, low probability incidents such as this. This planning includes preparedness reviews and simulation exercises (as is standard practice for other incidents such as a nuclear incident or a national blackout).” 




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“The new load shedding regime came to light on Sunday when Eskom announced stage 1 load shedding countrywide at around noon and consumers consulted their load shedding schedules”

The above is not correct, maybe it only came to light to the reporter now. City of Tshwane website have had 8 stages of load shedding listed even during the last time we had load shedding. I cannot remember it was like that before then.

Eight stages?

I went straight from Anger to Coping. Highly recommended

We do not have a shortage of coal. South Africa is blessed with an abundance of coal near the surface. Coal is in oversupply and cheap. We do have a shortage of the most important resource needed to turn coal into electricity though. This substance is a critical catalyst in the process of power generation. Without this substance, electricity generation will grind to a halt. This scarce resource is called grey matter. The ANC exported a large chunk of this precious resource to Australia and Europe, without receiving any payment for the transaction. The gray matter they did not export, they simply discarded, trashed and destroyed.

The solution to this shortage of a critical catalyst to generate power led people in rural areas to make fire with cow dung. Now the ANC removed the critical grey matter and replaced it with dung. Eskom is the first dung-fired power station in the world. The load shedding is merely a part of the learning curve.

You hit the nail on the head Sensei.

Not surprising… Sensei is aptly named.

Agreed there is no shortage of coal. There is a shortage of brain power!

A” prudent” system operator? Really? Prudent means acting with or showing care for the future when I last looked. It may be time for another round of bonusses which I think will solve the problem. Only once we get rid of the scourge of cadre deployment will we see any hope for the future. It has bankrupted SA fiscally and morally.

Eskom once again blackmailing the SA citizen.
this happens every year when they have thought just far enough ahead to the Nersa presentations. threats of load shedding come out, the good old “if we don’t get the increase we will switch you off”

Eskom is very close to total implosion. Pity the fools don’t realize it.

NEXT step is a request for an increase in the tariffs.

Wet coal??????????? What kind of excuse is this????????

In the old days when Eskom was still a first class power supplier, their power stations had literally mountains of coal in a mountain format (anthracite coal – the highest / hardest coal quality for longest and cleanest burning period) – rain was not an issue at all because due to the mountain format any rain quickly drained off to the bottom of the mountain and the top part was always ready to be scooped off and used in the power station’s burners. Eskom management keep in mind we need rain also – specially to clean-up our messed up rivers and fill up the dams – don’t make your problem, my problem. Would be interesting to know what quality coal is currently sold to eskom and at what price – how is the quality controlled? – how is it transported? – train or truck? Is it not strange / ironical – we are exporting millions of tons of top quality coal, but can not fulfill in our own country’s needs / requirements for eskom power stations, which is directly due to a currently pathetic eskom management – financially and otherwise. Probably time to fire up the old power stations in the larger cities again if it still exists and get off the eskom grid – they are just to unreliable – the same crowd that just borrowed R30 bil from china – hopefully that was actually used in their capex projects and not to keep eskom afloat with their day to day running costs.

That’s easy to solve hand out towels to dry the coal………………smiley face

The rain impacts on the mining process, open cast pits get flooded and the extraction process has to stop while the miners dewater the pit.

This is why insufficient stockpiles are such an issue, as the coal is not coming out the ground, and stockpile gets depleted. Only once mine production resumes can anything be supplied.

Moneyweb – I could go on and on about how utterly useless Eksom is but they just don’t care – How about a comprehensive article on battery back up systems and solar power solutions (Pros cons and costs) – We could help local companies generate business and show Eksom the middle finger (like they do to their clients).

Not sure how SA will attract investment with no power and threat of land grabs… Feeling gloomy this morning 🙁

chronic power interruptions doesn’t only destroy fridges,TV’s etc but also UPS systems. UPS systems are made for emergencies not a replacement for electricity.

I’m not referring to UPS – I’m looking for more info on an alternative “safe” system. Thus the request for an article looking at all the pro’s and con’s.

Hi Gemini. Am not a tech geek nor electrician, but like many of us, google research answered questions. (I agree, such article is in dire need, as there’s many options)

For example, one can have a battery bank, linked to your home’s DB-box via a “transfer switch” (must be installed by electrician), while the batteries can either be kept topped up via Eskom supply, or ideally, PV-solar panels / with charge controller. Even capable on overcast days. Best to have it financed, as a whole house system can cost upwards of R150K.

A “long-backup” UPS system is a partial solution (I use it for my home office). If Eskom is out, I have battery backup power for 6+ hrs to run desktop/printer/lights/TV/decoder. Switches over in milliseconds. The more batteries, the longer the backup time. A UPS also provides excellent lightning and surge projection to sensitive equipment like connected TV/decoders/desktop-PC’s etc. A “line-interative” UPS is cheaper than a “double conversion” UPS. Many brands and capacities to choose from, for every budget.

The staff at http://WWW.SINETECH.CO.ZA (Randburg) have most of the toys you’ll need. Had great service from Carl and his team.

Lastly a the “dirty & noisy option” of a generator. You get the pricey enclosed “silent” type petrol generator can be used to power fridges, etc, after very long outages. Large enough generators can run your whole house, combined with ‘transfer switch’. But for long-term solution, it remains a PV-solar & battery bank combination. Will add value to house as well…

Oh…the SUN is guaranteed to rise every day….Eskom may be not.

Thanks for the well-researched advice. I agree 100%. Where there is grey matter, there will be light. There is a reason why it is called the “Dark Continent.”

“As a prudent System Operator…” Bwahahahaha. He said that as if it were true.

It’s almost like car “tip-tronic” type auto-gearboxes:

In the past one used to get 4-speed ‘torque converter’ auto boxes…..and these days, it’s not uncommon to find 8 or 9-speed dual-clutch type auto boxes.

Hence, Eskom must be advancing with technology, right? 😉

Rather avoid the confusion, and bring it back to 4 stages….just make the stage-bands wider, e.g. up it to 2,000MW per stage.

Until we rid this country of racist BEE policies nothing will change.

Cr must be crawling with embarrassment. He knows that South Africa is a business and the only way to get a business to be successful is to have competent management. Eskom is no different. U til there is competent management of this SOE we will continue to hear and live through lame duck excuses that are currently being presented. Come on Cyril, kick some butts!

While our economy and SOE’s are imploding, CR is running around begging for investment from the world. SA’s problem is not a lack of money, it is lack of morals and intelligent application of the money we have. Maybe I am missing something here but would it not be better to turn our economy around ASAP with some sort of Marshall plan to get SOE’s in order and reduce unemployment as a serious priority. This would surely make our economy more attractive to investors and thereby start a virtuous cycle of improvement for the country.

Maybe they have gone digital now. Seems that the next step would be to have 2…4…8…16 stages of load shedding, probably linked to their pricing model, so it all works as 2 to the power of n.

….just imagine the day when Eskom announces stage “13”! *lol*

The BEE highly paid Escom idiots have careers unblemished by success. Even pupils in a playground can work out you need to plan for future operational requirements, like making sure there is a regular supply of coal. What these clowns have done is the equivalent of a car driver forgetting to put petrol in their car, then wondering why it won’t go. The president of Germany is here with high powered business leaders, what a great impression escom must make on them! Clowns! Fools! Traitors!

End of comments.





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